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We want to read what you think: Should PA legalize marijuana for recreational use?

No, high potential for abuse

Often times when today’s society thinks of legalizing recreational marijuana, those individuals are thinking of the 1960’s-70’s marijuana — grown from the traditional plant with very little THC.

Though that type of marijuana may still be grown, people need to begin understanding how it has changed over the years and the impact it will have on our society as a whole. And, truthfully, I am hopeful to be retired from law enforcement before our politicians ever pass a bill to legalize a problem drug such as marijuana in our Commonwealth.

It’s really difficult to wrap my head around having topics of conversation such as the legalization of marijuana. So many people in our very wealthy country think marijuana is not a dangerous drug. I do not understand why people are not educating themselves today about this topic in its entirety before selecting a stance or providing false information and statements on the hazards of this drug.

Marijuana is a Schedule I drug under the DEA classification and illegal to possess or use under Federal Law. According to the law, this means that it has a high potential for abuse and no medicinal purposes. If the DEA were to ever reclassify this drug to a schedule II or III, and legalize it for medical purpose, that would also mean we would be paying for people unemployed to get marijuana for free. Additionally, states that do NOT agree with current Federal Laws are simply putting the idea of recreational marijuana on ballots, informing them of the expected revenue it will bring in, and then letting them pass it into state law without truly knowing the potential consequences. If states have such authority, I question why various boroughs and townships cannot create ordinances disagreeing with the state law making it illegal in these specific local communities. It seems the states can override certain federal laws, why doesn’t this hold true for local jurisdictions?

More importantly, lets focus on THC or the full word Tetrahydrocanabinol. It is the chemical found in marijuana plants responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. These psychological effects are what people want so they can get high. As I mentioned before, unfortunately the levels of THC have been chemically changed so much from the 1960’s -70’s to current date. THC has a much higher potency today. It is not only smoked from the green leafy plant form but now it’s in liquid form and placed on anything edible. Teenagers are smoking it in vapes on a daily basis. If you are truly interested how THC is being delivered, go online and look up all the different candy legal vendors, and others, are selling with THC it. Question yourself what age group do you think they are targeting with all the THC gummy bears and candies? As we battle a vaping and tobacco problem in our country, we now want to open Pandora’s Box to legalize a drug that will change our world forever.

If I were Satan, I would convince politicians that legalizing a drug like marijuana is going to be good for the economy because we can tax it and have funding for education, infrastructure and health insurance. If I were Satan, I would convince others to release prisoners, who have admitted their guilt and took their plea, back into society where they sold drugs to our youth and many others.

Nowadays, it seems getting high is so much more important than working, coaching, teaching, and raising a family. The common norm seems to be to focus on you and don’t worry about others in your life, as if we don’t have enough of this already with other drugs.

People truly believe marijuana is safe and not that dangerous of a drug. People truly believe marijuana will help you with every day stress and help you focus on your marriage and relationships. Yet, I question how it is considered a safe drug? How will it assist you with your marriage and relationships if you’re considered an individual addicted to a substance where you cannot hold employment for being under the influence? I question how particular companies and corporations will draw up their own regulations on whether an employee can come into their workplace and run heavy equipment under the influence? How will the legalization of marijuana truly be regulated by businesses, schools, and all other facets of our community?

I’ve also often heard that legalizing marijuana will also stop the major drug cartels. What is the difference between the drug cartel’s greed of money from selling it illegally or the “big marijuana” industry getting wealthy from drug sales? Drug cartels will sell it cheaper and you will still see it sold on the black market because the government has taxed it so high it will be cheaper to grow their own or buy it from someone else not authorized.

I personally have not seen anything good come out of someone’s life that starts using marijuana and continues to use it. In over 25 years of my law enforcement career I have interviewed hundreds of adults and adolescents addicted to drugs and they ALL seem to say the same thing, “I wish I had never started smoking pot when I was 12, or 13.” The reason is it often leads to other more potent drug use. Not one heroin or meth addict I’ve met, started straight out with heroin or a methamphetamine. They got bored with marijuana at a young age and moved to prescription pills, meth, heroin and other drug use that drastically affected their lives. Our youth typically learn their addictive behaviors from adults. If mom and dad are smoking marijuana on a regular basis so will our youth. An age limit of 21 years of age will not stop them. It doesn’t work for tobacco or alcohol. I have seen too many lives ruined in my many years in police work because of drugs. I have seen our drug arrest in our area continue to grow because we have taught our youth at a young age if you can’t handle life take a pill or smoke some pot it’s not harmful for you. In my professional opinion, this attitude is creating a growing number of mental health issues for our society.

Marijuana is probably one of the more dangerous drugs to a child’s undeveloped brain. As we fear those pregnant women who cannot cut off smoking during their pregnancy, what effects will their unborn child have while their mother is smoking marijuana? If we allow marijuana to be so readily available in our homes once it’s legal, I feel we are only going to see our society decline. I can actually assure you of it. Again, I ask you that you take the time to answer these questions. Who will hire a drug addict to work around heavy equipment, teach or coach our youth, defend you in court, drive gasoline trucks and other 18-wheelers, perform your heart surgery? Additionally, if marijuana becomes legal someday here, will you allow your children to go to stay at friend’s house where the parents use drugs? Is it ok with you for your adult babysitter to come over with their vapes that you think is just a nicotine vape but it’s loaded with THC? How will you know what to look for?

Do we want our daycare providers using drugs and watching your precious children?

The rebuttal I often get is that alcohol is similar if not worse than marijuana. I say only if you make it that way. A person may have a glass of wine with dinner and not be impaired but take one inhale of a marijuana blunt, joint, bowl or vape and you are going to be high, stoned or impaired. For how long that high is on each individual is unknown because our bodies are all different. However, the reality is that the individual will be impaired.

If we allow recreational marijuana to become legal in our Commonwealth I’m telling you to brace yourselves for more fatal crashes, pedestrians struck, high school drop outs, homelessness, decreased workforce, less qualified skilled positions being filled such as officers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers and future leaders. Additionally, you will see more addicts, rehabs, overall unemployment, divorces, assaults, health concerns, child defects, sexual assaults, teen pregnancies and health problems. We have one body to take care of, and I feel we need to all start treating it better. You do not get a ‘redo’ or second chance at life.

Once marijuana becomes legal to use, there will be no more calling of the police because people are smoking pot in the parks, playgrounds or on the streets. If I, or any police officer, could show a video of all the conversations, incidents or calls we have seen and been on in our career, I think most people may then get it that legalizing marijuana is not ever going to be a good idea for us as a society.

Many will think that ‘it will not affect me because I don’t or won’t use it’, but guess again. This is going to affect us significantly, just ask Colorado! If you vote for a drug to become recreational then you better be ready for what comes with it. If your family member is killed by an impaired driver that was high from marijuana and you voted to get it here, I feel sorry for you! You could have done something about it. Once that law is passed it’s here for good.

This subject is something I feel very passionate about and I now know that I am not on the popular side of supporting its legalization but please understand that these are my own thoughts and opinions and it’s perfectly acceptable to agree to disagree. However, drugs have impacted so many families including my own. I pray that someday it doesn’t affect yours.

God bless and sincerely,

Chief Todd P. Mineweaser,

Youngsville Police Department

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